Listen Now
Pledge Now




 
 

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - June 26

Wildersmith Sign Only.jpg
Wildersmith Sign Only.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
June 26, 2020
           
June is in its last days as this Gunflint report is airing. While minutes, days and weeks have not changed in length, the first half of 2020 nevertheless has evaporated amidst turmoil and tragedy the likes of which U.S. history has not recorded.                                                                                      

Although many issues of this COVID mess remain in a raging mode, one can only hope the year’s second half is not a remake. It will only be possible, if WE the people make it happen through continuing safe practices.  The nasty, is not over!   
                                                                                        
In the meantime, we’ve reached the pinnacle of “Sol’s ascension into the northern hemisphere. With just under sixteen hours of sunrise to sunset time, and adding an hour plus of twilight time at each end, we are in a border country version of the mid-night sun.                                                

I’ve discovered such conditions of extended daylight find the hummingbirds having started their engines as early as four in the morning, and still landing at our sweetness station going on ten in the evening. That’s a lot of beats per day on those delicate wings, and uncountable slurps of nectar.                                                                                                                       

Another remarkable story from our natural world came my way recently from the west end of Gunflint Lake. It seems a frantic call came out from a resident explaining they had a duck or something down in their cabin chimney. Wondering if a neighbor could help, investigation found it was in fact, a large duck.                                                                                                                           

The animal seemed near the bottom, but was not accessible through the fireplace. Since a duck cannot fly straight up this was a complex dilemma. With a bit of Gunflint ingenuity this man of the hour was suddenly cast in the role of hero or zilch. Sizing things up, he rigged up a snare of plastic conduit and flag pole rope.                                                                                                             

While not sure if this could work and if the creature could even be lassoed, let alone be saved, it seemed the only alternative. The idea was to snare the duck around the neck and pull it up the dark hole. Would the outcome be good?                                                     

Nevertheless, shining a light down while feeding the snare toward the “quacker”, luck was on “ducky’s” side, the rigging fell in place as hoped. With a careful tug, cinching the braided necktie, up the chimney it rose.                                                                                                                           
This Good Samaritan, who is always at beckons call through-out the territory, grabbed the duck not knowing what to expect. Loosening the mini noose, in a blink of an eye the soot covered critter was off into the wild blue yonder, to the cheers of excited observers. What a lucky duck!   
                                                                                                                                           
Asked what kind it was, this duck savior replied, it was a “black” duck. How the duck got into this quandary is not known. It could be the duck perched atop the warm chimney on a brisk cold day, perhaps dozed off and fell in. This speaks well for having a screening cap on ones chimney.                                                                                                                                  

Another piece on things that fly has my attention lately. I have never observed such numbers of white admiral butterflies along the Mile O Pine. Only “Mother Nature” knows why.
           
The Chik-Wauk loons are still on the nest, and perhaps there will be a happy announcement coming around Independence Day.                                                                                         

It is always a thrill to be in the presence of a “wild neighborhood” critter as long as one is not being considered as menu item. My most recent experience was crossing path with a momma bear and her triplet cubs. I don’t know who was startled most, yours truly or the Bruno family.     
                                                                                                                                                        
Folks will want to keep track of the virtual programming from up at the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. Daily snippets ranging from Phrenology on Mondays to night sky on Saturdays can be found via CW social media platforms.  Check them out!                                         

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is celebrated, with the pomp of nature!